I have seen the news reports about Rex and his amazing ability with the piano. Getting to read the story about him helps me see his accomplishments as even more miraculous.
The book is about the heartaches and victories that Rex’s mom experienced while trying to raise and train Rex up to this point in his life. He was born with a growth in his brain that caused blindness and autism. At 2 years old he was given a piano keyboard that became the magical door to open his mind to the outside world. He has grown to be a musical savant.
That is the part of the story I already knew. What I did not know about was the struggles that Rex’s mom had to endure to deal with his limitations on a practical level as a single mom. Also about the battles she faced just getting him into school and keeping him there.
As someone who has worked with the Deaf I have seen these same types of conflicts play out in the lives of many parents. There is always the feeling that, as a parent, you might have done something different to change the outcome. Or that you should have done more (or less) along the way to help, protect, guide or encourage your child in their development.
Ms. Lewis is careful to praise good teachers and scold bad ones. Some of the stories she tells in the book remind me of what took place in the early days of special education where the special ed teachers were not properly trained for the individual need, but were just teachers pulled from the standard classrooms to fill a position. However, this is not a story of a boy growing up blind in the 1950s, it is a story of a boy who is currently in the system. Some of these stories happened within the last couple of years.
The writing seemed a little flowery at the front of the book. It took me about 60 pages to “get into” the story. I don’t know if the writing got better or that I was finally drawn into the emotion of what was taking place, but it was certainly easier to read. By the time I hit half way through the book I had trouble putting it down.
This book is published by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a Christian publishing house. I expect that their books would have a clear religious bent. I finished the book wondering whether Rex’s mom really has a relationship with Christ, or just found psychological comfort in going to church.
It is a good book if you are looking for an emotional story. I feel like I know Rex in a small way. I am very excited about following him as he grows up.
Rex, Thomas Nelson, 2008, 242 pages.